‘Historic day’ for Cyprus health reform

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Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades welcomed as historic the full implementation of the General Health Scheme with the introduction of its final phase on Monday.

“It is a really historic day because we are realising a decades-old vision for our country as the general health scheme is complete with the start of its second phase,” the president said.

He said the Republic of Cyprus, when it comes to healthcare services, now has nothing to envy from other developed countries around the globe.

The second phase of the system entails inpatient healthcare provision by hospitals, including major private facilities.

“It is my conviction that the best possible health service provision constitutes a state obligation but also a right for each citizen whom we, who hold positions of power, ought to serve with the utmost respect.”

Noting the island was at the stage of emerging from the coronavirus outbreak, Anastasiades said that implementation of the second stage comes at a moment when the health system is regaining the self-confidence it lacked.

Conveying the state’s confidence towards the country’s health professionals, Anastasiades pledged the government will be by their side to “support this great effort, to implement in the best possible way, perhaps the greatest reform in the history of the Republic of Cyprus”.

He said the health system is now able to “make this big step and provide our fellow citizens the universal, effective, and unitary health system, which we have been envisioning for decades.”

Anastasiades conceded there will be difficulties initially, but they must be faced with patience and understanding by everyone.

The GHS was rolled out on June 2019 with beneficiaries having access to outpatient services offered by the public hospitals and a number of private health institutions with the first-ever GP and universal prescription network.

The second stage involves inpatient services, while a number of services offered by allied health professionals (clinical dieticians, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, physiotherapists, and clinical psychologists), accident and emergency departments, ambulance services, and medical rehabilitation will come online from September.